Jerez MotoGP test to determine 2019-spec Yamaha engine

Vinales and Rossi sample upgraded powerplants in Valencia.

Image: Supplied.

Next week’s MotoGP test at Jerez in Spain will determine Yamaha Factory Racing’s 2019 direction after Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi sampled a number of different specification engines at Valencia.

In a positive sign for the manufacturer that largely struggled in 2018, Vinales topped the timesheets on both days of testing with blistering pace, although shortened track time due to weather prevented him from trialling the upgraded powerplants to their full potential.

“It has been a positive test,” Vinales stated. “We’ve been working a lot on improving for the first lap of the race. I’m actually really happy because from the first lap I felt good grip and I could push. There’s still work to do to further improve the engine braking and the smoothness of the power, so that’s what we will work on in Jerez. It was unlucky that we couldn’t ride all day, like we had planned.

“We couldn’t test the engines very well, so we’re going to decide after Jerez which of the two we choose. As I said, we need to try more, to be more convinced about the engine decision, but I think we’re on the right track.

“We need to focus on the riding style and getting a smoother bike will be very important, especially when there’s no grip during the race, but there is an upgrade coming that will help a lot. In these last two days I only focused on the engine and didn’t touch anything concerning the setting.

Rossi, who wound up ninth on the results sheet, 0.614s off the pace of Vinales, agreed further testing is crucial in gaining a greater understanding of the newly-spec’d engines, particularly at a circuit where Yamaha struggled at earlier this year.

“We were able to improve compared to yesterday, but unfortunately our opponents were able to improve more,” Rossi explained. “Today was a bit more difficult. We tried a different engine and a different spec, but it was similar to the one we tried yesterday so they have more or less the same performance.

“For now we keep the same material, and next week we will try it again at another track, in Jerez, so there we’ll try to understand it in a better way. After that we have to wait for next year. The test in Jerez is important because in the GP there in May we weren’t very fast. We need to understand if we’re stronger now.”


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